Have you ever been walking around campus and suddenly seen an alligator?
If you haven’t, be on the lookout because ePEDemic.org, a pedestrian safety organization, has placed images such as alligators and building drop-offs on the ground in front of crosswalks near the Joe Crowley Student Union, around campus and into Midtown.
The images are designed to grab pedestrians’ attention before they cross the road. Each image is accompanied by the campaign slogan “Walking while distracted is just as dangerous” and the ePEDemic.org logo.
The campaign’s goal is to remind pedestrians of the dangers they face crossing the street, especially if they are paying attention to something other than the road.
Nevada is one of the worst states when it comes to pedestrian fatalities. The number of pedestrians killed on Nevada roads has risen each year since 2010, and in 2016, 80 pedestrians were killed, compared to 41 pedestrians in 2010.
In 2014, the most recent year for which data was available, Nevada ranked fourth highest in the country in pedestrian fatalities per 100,000 people. Out of every thousand, 2.47 Nevadans died on the road. From January through June of 2015, that number was up 20 percent from the same time period in 2014.
In response to these rising numbers, the Nevada Legislature unanimously passed Senate Bill 410 on April 24, making it a felony for drivers to kill or seriously injure a pedestrian or bicyclist, resulting in one to six years in prison and a fine from $2,000 to $5,000.
According to ePEDemic.org, crossing improperly, not being visible, failing to yield the right of way and darting into the roadway are the most common contributors to pedestrian fatalities. The website also urges pedestrians to make eye contact with oncoming drivers and avoid distractions such as headphones or cell phones.
In addition to focusing on the road, the website says it is also important to obey all signs and signals. Two thirds of pedestrian fatalities occur where there is not a crosswalk.
The university gives similar guidelines when it comes to crossing the street. They also encourage drivers to observe the speed limit, be attentive to pedestrians leaving the curb and not to drive distracted.
Pedestrians aren’t the only travelers that need to be focused while on the road. In Nevada, drivers must be 3 feet away from any bicyclists on the road. The university requires that bicyclists around campus must abide by the 15-mph speed limit and maintain a 3-foot distance from pedestrians.
Skateboards, scooters and skates are not permitted on streets designated for motorized vehicles, in parking lots, in garages or on parking ramps on campus. University policies require that skaters must abide by the campus speed limit, the no-texting-and-skating rule and the pedestrian-right-of-way rule.
The ePEDemic campaign is run by Zero Fatalities Nevada, which aims to eliminate all vehicle related deaths in the state. Zero Fatalities Nevada runs campaigns to stop at red lights, focus while driving, buckle seatbelts, eliminate drunk driving, as well as a campaign for safely riding bicycles.
Kevin Bass can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @NevadaSagebrush.